Here we are: The end of another year. Or, as John Lennon once wrote, “Another year over, a new one just begun” (at least, a few hours from now.) I thought of what to say to my readers as a Boston criminal defense lawyer on this final day of the year? There a lot of things I could talk about, each at some length: Massachusetts domestic violence charges; Massachusetts drug charges; Massachusetts sex offense charges; Massachusetts larceny charges; Massachusetts show-cause hearings, on and on. But there’ll be plenty of time to talk about those important topics, and of how everyday people can become charged with these crimes, a few days from now, in the new year.
Right now, I want to talk about how readers can start the new year positively and intelligently – today. Whatever you do today or tonight at New Year’s Eve festivities – whether in public facilities, restaurants, nightclubs or private homes – do not drive after drinking alcohol. One drink within 90 minutes can leave some people legally impaired – i.e., registering a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher. Of course, police checkpoints – visible and hidden – will be everywhere in Massachusetts tonight – and this exponentially increases drivers’ chances of being arrested for operating while under the influence. These seen and unseen police patrols are necessary and appropriate to assure everyone’s safety. But even if an intoxicated driver weren’t caught by police, no such driver should consider that a “win”: It’s still quite bad. It’s downright foolish conduct to drive any motor vehicle after having had more than one drink over a 75-90 minute period – a single beer, glass of wine, or cocktail. All of these contain the same amount of alcohol, and all can impair a driver’s perception, reaction and response time. And that impairment can mean the difference between life and death – potentially your own,or worse, an innocent person. Courting this kind of terrible risk is simply not worth a “buzz.”
As a Boston OUI defense lawyer, I fight tooth and nail for my clients – guarding their every legal right at every stage of the prosecution. But that’s after an arrest has been made: After you’ve been charged and your life has been turned upside- down. No one really wants to have to go through that kind of stress and financial expense. So start the year off smart: If you’re going to drink tonight — or take part in any marijuana (that’s another legal topic that I’ll be discussing soon, with the expanded roll-out of Massachusetts recreational pot shops), get a designated driver first: Someone who swears off on having a single drink or toke. If you can’t find a designated driver, call Lyft or Uber. Both ride-sharing services have special programs for New Year’s Eve, that provide discounted rides for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Click here to learn more.
Ring in the New Year with a smart idea – not a mug shot.